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Traditions in Transition: Gendered Cultural Dynamics in Contemporary Performances by Obabes Bembube

Magadalene Fungai Zivengwa and Wonder Maguraushe


Published: 2023/09/01


The paper discusses female musicians involved in imbube music performance. It traces imbube music’s origin in South Africa and its spread to Zimbabwe. It traces the further history and performance of imbube paying special attention to the participation by females. The current characteristics of imbube in Zimbabwe are compared with the past. Interviews were conducted with members of the Nobuntu all-female imbube group based in Bulawayo to explore the challenges that female musicians encounter as imbube artists. Observations were also made on this group’s performances. Using liberal feminist theory, the paper looks at how scholars have analyzed the transformation of imbube leading to the involvement of female musicians and the formation of a female group performing imbube. The paper concludes that female musicians are claiming their place in imbube music performance which has been a preserve of male artists for a very long time. Imbube has been a male dominated genre and time is nigh to welcome Nobuntu queens on board. Indigenous culture is going through continuous transformations and transitions in which the only permanent quality is change itself. One major recent change has been the venturing of women into this genre as manifested by the formation of the Nobuntu all-female group in Bulawayo. However, female musicians continue to face gender-related dynamics in imbube music performance despite numerous calls for gender equality. Keywords: Imbube, Isicathamiya, Lion King, Gender dynamics, Feminism

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